For me, enjoying a hot drink while adventuring outdoors is an essential and enjoyable part of the experience. Reaching the top of a mountain, panting for air, wobbly legged, sticky from sweat and numb fingers from the chilling gale are all quickly forgotten when I hunker down behind the shelter of a rock and pour a hot drink from my flask. Looking out at the vista (or not if it’s cloudy) with my hands wrapped around a warm cuppa is my definition of heaven. In that moment, nothing else matters.
My hot drinks of choice are tea, coffee of hot chocolate, depending upon how I feel in the morning when I prepare the flask and what Dave fancies sharing (If I’m nice enough to let him have a say).
Now, when it comes to preparing the hot drink in a flask, there seems to be varying strategies among my friends and the Outdoor Bloggers community to ensure the drink stays hot, tastes as good as it can do from a flask and is easy to transport on an adventure.
These are my methods for preparing a hot drink:
I fill my Hydroflask with hot water and then top it up with milk. Tea bags and sugar for Dave (when I remember to pack it!) are carried in a small food bag or container. When it is time to drink the tea, the tea bag is placed into the drinking vessel and the hot water/milk concoction is poured over the tea.
Before my current tea strategy, I would make the tea in the flask. The tea bag would be left dunking for a few minutes then I’d fish it out before screwing on the lid. This method was both fiddly, as the bag would sink and yuk because the tea would over stew and therefore taste extremely tarry.
Typically, my coffee has always been prepared using instant granules, hot water and a milk directly into the flask.
However, my adventure coffee has recently been revolutionised! Lyons got in touch with me to ask if I would try out their new coffee bags. Yep, that’s right; coffee in bag form. Why has this not been invented before? I’ve often wondered why coffee didn’t come in bags and a friend pointed out that instant granules just doesn’t require a bag however, ground coffee quickly loses its flavour if it is not kept airtight. Lyons cleverly seal each coffee bag individually, meaning the ground coffee stays fresh and tastes great. My only qualm is that the packaging around each bag is not recyclable. In comparison, the waste from Lyons coffee bags is a lot less than the individually packed plastic coffee filters that have been on the market for a while. Each one is made of single-use plastic, which isn’t good news for the environment. Plus, they are a lot bulkier to transport on an adventure compared to Lyons coffee bags. You can read more about Lyons Coffee Bags here.
The battle is between the ease of instant and the powder that you mix with milk. For flavour, the latter is my favourite because the chocolate flavour is more intense and the milk give a creamy texture and taste. However, I choose the Galaxy Instant hot choc for outdoor adventures because it mixes well (traditional hot choc takes FOREVER to stir in and sticks to the bottom of your flask) and is a good compromise on flavour. It’s probably cheaper, too, as milk is cut out if the equation and the instant powered seem to go further.
These are my favourite hot drink receptacles:
The flask is somewhat iconic in the world of hiking. Flasks used to be bulky and delicate but now, thanks to new technology, the flask has become more streamlined. My favourite flask is the Hydroflask, simply because it is brightly coloured. Typically, outdoor gear is green, black or silver and I do enjoy a good splash of colour. You can see all the beautful colours and styles of Hydroflask here.
Reusable cups are great for camping and on the go. Lyons sent me a Keepcup to use with the coffee bags. Made in Australia, Keepcups hope to reduce the number of throw-away coffee cups used across the world every day. Apparently, 3 billion coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year with only 1 in 400 successfully recycled due to the complex process and limited recycling plants that will accept them. I love the Keepcup when we’re away in the campervan because it keeps my drink hotter for longer and I’m less likely to spill it.
My collapsible cup is by Light My Fire and, like the Hydroflask, their range comes in bright colours. Dave and I have a green and orange set. “Green?” I hear you shout at me. Well, it’s bright green so doesn’t count as being boring. The cup packs down small and is ideal for hiking. The body of the cup is silicone and can be squashed to remove the last drops of liquid from the teabag, saving my fingers from getting wet when trying to remove it. We just leave the squashed bag in the cup and pop then back our bags to sort at home. While I’m on the subject, PLEASE don’t leave your teabags in the countryside; they take many years to decompose, are unsightly and can be swallowed by animals including sheep which could be a health risk. I got the collapsible cup with my MealKit from Light My Fire which you can see here. They are made in Sweden and are pretty awesome.
What’s your favourite adventure drink and how do you prepare it?